Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Jan Harff, Martin Meschede, Sven Petersen, Jörn Thiede

Crustal Accretion

  • Benoît Ildefonse
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6644-0_8-1



Crustal Accretion. Formation of ocean crust at mid-ocean ridges, by a combination of magmatic, tectonic, and hydrothermal processes.


Since the early 1970s, the classical model of a uniformly layered ocean crust, with from top to bottom basaltic lava flows, basaltic sheeted dikes, and gabbros, known as the “Penrose” model (Anonymous, 1972), has considerably evolved, with complementary contributions from ophiolite studies, seafloor geology, marine geophysics, and scientific ocean drilling. At the global scale, there is substantial variability of the mid-ocean ridge morphology and hence of crustal architecture. This results from various modes of accretion that are controlled by magma supply to the ridge, which itself primarily depends on the spreading rate. This article briefly describes the current end-member models for crustal accretion at fast-spreading (>~80 mm/year) and slow-spreading (<~40 mm/year) ridges.



Detachment Fault Ridge Axis Cocos Plate Integrate Ocean Drill Program Sheet Dike 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Géosciences MontpellierCNRS and Université de MontpellierMontpellierFrance